Belk Inc. got a good sales gain during the first quarter but the bottom line fell 30 percent due to increased promotions and investments in new strategies.
Net income for the quarter ended May 4 reached $28.2 million, compared to $40.3 million in the year-ago period, while net sales increased 5.1 percent to $956 million and comparable-store sales gained 5.2 percent. E-commerce sales grew 67 percent over the same prior-year period. Online sales positively affected comparable-store sales by 1.6 percent in the quarter.
“Our sales growth for the quarter remained strong as we continue to benefit from the investments we are making in the business,” Tim Belk, chairman and chief executive officer, said Monday. “The bottom line was impacted by lower margins resulting from increased promotions as well as the expense associated with the investments. While those investments will increase our expense in the short term, we expect them to generate strong future returns.”
Charlotte, N.C.-based Belk attributed the sales gain to increased promotions and investments in ongoing strategic merchandising, marketing, branding, e-commerce and service initiatives. Accessories, cosmetics, fine jewelry, men’s and kids were the best performing categories.
In outlining its strategic initiatives, Belk, which is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year, said it completed shoe and jewelry expansions and remodels in 24 stores last quarter, and launched two private brands this spring — Made Cam Newton men’s wear, and Cynthia Cynthia Rowley for women’s apparel and accessories. RELATED CONTENT: WWD Earnings Tracker >>
This year, the $3.8 billion, 301-unit Belk is planning to open a store in New Braunfels, Tex., and two replacement stores in Morganton and Salisbury, N.C. The retailer also has on tap for this year eight store expansions, nine remodels and expansions and remodels of watches and sunglasses departments in 25 stores. Belk previously revealed plans to open flagships in 2014 at the Galleria in Dallas and Bridge Street Town Centre in Huntsville, Ala. It also plans to expand and convert the Flowood, Miss., Greensboro, N.C., and Mt. Pleasant, S.C., stores to flagships over the next two years.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast